AFL ROUND 11
Hawthorn v Port Adelaide
We had our streak snapped on seven winning plays in a row last week when we came crashing back to reality with a demolition job from the Demons on Adelaide. We'll rebound here with the Hawks v Port game down in Tasmania. The Hawks have now lost three on the hop after their gallant efforts were thwarted last week from a ladder-leading West Coast. Port Adelaide are coming off a bye weekend, courtesy of the AFL exhibition game being played in Shanghai the week before.
The Hawks were able to really hang with the West Coast Eagles last week. Unfortunately they were able to be broken down and the margin of only 15 points doesn't reflect that the Eagles had the Hawks at a safe arm's reach for the better part of the second half of the match. Hawks were always bound to have some resistance for the Eagles, who are also not known to be able to travel and win in Melbourne. Jaeger O'Meara hit the scoreboard last week and brings anything dimension to the Hawks midfield. Tom Mitchell was his dominant self inside but with O'Meara being able to go forward and put some offensive pressure on his direct opponent from the midfield, adds to the Hawks and their potency. A couple of Hawk youngsters in Howe and O'Brien will get the recall from Clarkson as Mirra and Mitchell make way. Howe has been touted from Clarkson through the week as a potential tagging option for Ollie Wines if he is influencing the contest early on.
The price on this matchup has to come from the unknown of where Port are going to be coming off the bye. We've had a solid block of football in the past month to see where the Hawks are at, and simply put, if Port play anywhere near their best, coming off a freshener, they'll be comfortable winners down in Tasmania.
Port Adelaide to Win3.0 at 1.84-3
Essendon v Richmond
The headlining act of Indigenous round is Saturday night at the 'G for the Dreamtime At The 'G matchup. Essendon and Richmond have reserved this game since it's inception and will have themselves another whack at it again this weekend. Since the Bombers gave the winless Blues their first win of the season, they have turned their season around rattling off two gutsy wins against the Cats and the Giants. Over that span, the Tigers were belted by West Coast and were only able to draw clear from St Kilda last week after they were headed.
The Bombers have been able to turn their season around after seemingly hitting rock bottom three weeks ago when they lost to the Blues. Since then, they have sacked their 'performance coach' and strung together two wins against formidable opposition. The most impressive thing about the Bombers was when they were challenged at three quarter time by the home team GWS Giants, were able to respond and kick clear again. It shows they have themselves work rate a will to want to fight. Though the Tigers have won their past two of three, the Tigers have had their cage rattled in the last three weeks and be it their mid season slump coming along or their style being found out, it looks as if the Tigers will need to dig deeper if they're going to repeat. Dustin Martin's performance has been well under par for the better part of a month now while skipper Trent Cotchin has done his best to fill the void. Josh Caddy, who made the cross from Geelong in search of more midfield minutes, has put himself into AA contention as a small forward. His goal kicking ability in and around the contest has created another facet to the Tigers forward line that opposition teams needs to consider.
A couple of the Tigers big names have been quiet in the last couple of weeks and will need to regain form and as a team will need to play better than they have in the past three weeks to knock off this Bombers on Saturday. Because of that, with the key in's for the Bombers and the fact that the Bombers form is simply better than the reigning premiers, it makes the line on the Bombers a play.
Essendon +18.52.0 at 1.91-2
Essendon +18.52.0 at 1.91-2
North Melbourne v Brisbane
Surprise packet North Melbourne will look to head into the mid season bye next weej with another win that would really solidify their finals campaign. The Kangaroos went West last week and become the second team of the season to win over there by knocking off the Dockers. Meanwhile, The Brisbane Lions were stubborn enough to hang around with the Swans last week but were eventually overrun by a classier outfit.
North Melbourne forward duo Jarrad Waite and Ben Brown combined for 5 majors last week against the Dockers. This tandem is proving to be quite the handful for opposition backlines and it is very likely that when one isn't hitting the scoreboard, the other one is. Ben Brown is currently leading the Coleman race with 33 for the season but it is what Waite is doing as well that is helping the Kangaroos over the line. Waite is currently sitting ninth on the tally and is 11 behind Brown on 22. Combined they are 55.22 and the discussion is starting to be had on how deep they will go into the post season. Ben Jacobs is shaping himself to become the best tagger in the competition and continues to nullify opposition teams midfield superstars. With his effect on the game, it allows Cunnington and Higgins to influence contests more. Consequently, Cunnington has taken the record for the most contested possessions in a game through the Kangaroo's purple patch of form. You do not have to be stiff to be dead, but the Brisbane Lions would be the stiffest team to have only won one game for the season so far. They continue to notch their 'honourable' losses but have granted played better opposition than other cellar dwellers of the comp at the moment. Zorko has been able to turn his season around with a solid month of football. His elbow injury that threatened to sideline him has seemed to slow him down and continues to lead this young Brisbane squad. Most notably, Dane Beams who voluntarily stood down as skipper last week, has since lifted his own game again. He was able to record 38 touches and a goal in the three goal loss to the Swans.
They have the leading Coleman medallist, a top 3 ruckmen of the comp and the best tagger in the league- watch the Roos go to work and put the Brisbane boys back in their box somewhat. Take North Melbourne minus the line to round out the weekend's plays.
North Melbourne -27.52.5 at 1.83+2.07
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Round Seventeen +0.68 7 10% Round Sixteen -4.11 12 -34% Round Fifteen -8.5 8.5 -100% Round Fourteen +6.5 8 81% Round Thirteen -7 7 -100% Round Twelve -0.72 5.5 -13% Round Eleven -2.93 7.5 -39% Round Ten +1.5 8 19% Round Nine +7.84 8.5 92% Round Eight +3.5 8 44% Round Seven +2.35 7.25 32% Round Six +1.15 5.5 21% Round Five +5.32 9 59% Round Four -2.1 6.5 -32% Round Three -0.35 5.5 -6% Round Two -1.5 6 -25% Round One +2.56 6 43% Total +4.19 125.75 3%